A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra is a testament to human ingenuity and the artistic spirit that has flourished here for thousands of years. From the breathtaking grandeur of Al-Khazneh, also known as the Treasury, to the impressive facade of the Monastery, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring sights.
Making a day trip to Petra from Amman requires a 3-hour drive traversing scenic highways and desert landscapes. Whether you make this trip on your own or as part of a tour, it is entirely possible to do a Petra day trip as part of your Jordan itinerary – though I’d encourage you to spend at least an overnight there if you have it, as there’s much you won’t be able to experience with such a short time.
If a day trip is all you can do, never fear: it’s still going to be an unforgettable day. Read on for all the info you need to plan your day trip from Amman to Petra.
How to Get from Amman to Petra
Petra is one of the – if not the – most popular attractions in Jordan. This said, Amman, the capital city, has tons of ways for travelers to organize a day trip to Petra and reach the Ancient Nabatean Kingdom.
I have a whole article devoted to the logistics of how to travel from Amman to Petra, covering all the modes of transportation and costs. But, for the sake of simplicity, here are the ways in which you can reach it:
- By car (here’s my post on all the things you should know before renting a car in Jordan)
- By bus
- By taxi
- On a tour
- With a private driver
Each of these options has pros and cons you should evaluate depending on your needs, interests, and budget. Head to my blog post to get the whole picture and make the right decision for you!
Petra Day Trip Tours from Amman
Since Petra is such a popular destination, tons of travel agencies organize day trips from Amman. I’ve picked out five Petra day trip tours from Amman you can book on your next visit.
- Private Day Trip to Petra with Pickup – This tour takes 12 hours and they pick you up with a private driver at your hotel. Take into account that this tour does include a driver/guide who’ll be with you during the transfers between each location, but not while you’re touring Petra.
- Petra Full-Day Private Tour from Amman – This Amman day trip to Petra is a bit shorter – it takes 10 hours. You spend three hours on the way out and three hours on the way back plus the four hours you get in Petra. It includes an English-speaking driver plus pick-up and drop-off services at Amman city hotels. What makes this tour interesting is that your driver can assist you to hire a local guide if you are interested.
- Petra Private Tour – This tour is perfect for those who want the complete experience. It takes 12 hours. Your English-speaking driver will pick you up at your hotel and as soon as he drops you off at Petra you’ll meet with your guide to explore the ancient site.
- Private Petra Day Trip including Little Petra from Amman – This private day trip to Petra is 12 hours long and includes an English-speaking that guide picks you up at your hotel, a local English-speaking guide for the classic visit of Petra, and a horse ride before The Siq. The main difference is that it also includes passing by Little Petra, a small rocky valley with carvings, that archaeologists believe acted as the Nabatean’s caravan before heading to the main city.
- Amman Petra Full-Day Trip – This 10-hour tour is pretty much the same as the first one. You get your English-speaking driver to pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. The best part is that you get four hours in Petra to explore it as you see fit. Your driver will also assist you if you want to book a local guide to show you around.
Visiting Petra On Your Own on a Day Trip
Not all travelers like to have everything set up for them. Instead, they prefer the thrill of designing their own itineraries. If that sounds like you, this section will give you an idea of how you can structure your visit during a day trip to Petra; you’ll follow these instructions after making your way from Amman to Petra using the transportation options listed above.
Begin the Siq Trail from Visitor Center
The Siq is the main trail in Petra that leads from the Visitor Center to the Siq to the Treasury. It doesn’t pose much difficulty as it’s pretty short – 0.75 miles – and most of it is downhill. However, it still takes quite a while as you’ll begin to see ruins, tombs, and carvings right away. Plan around 45 minutes to make the hike to the Treasury.
Arrive at the Treasury
The Treasury is Petra’s most iconic sight; you might instantly recognize it from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (one of many movies filmed in Jordan!). You can’t enter the Treasury like Indy and his crew, but it is a great spot for photos.
Since you’ll probably be arriving mid-morning, you should expect that it will be quite crowded. Most people only visit this part of Petra, though it’s just the beginning; be prepared to wait for the perfect shot. There are also Bedouin guides offering camel rides further into Petra, but you won’t have time for this today, so continue on foot to the next part of Petra.
Continue down the Street of Facades
Once you’ve grabbed a few photos, continue down the Siq toward the Street of Façades. Stop here for 10-15 minutes before continuing on. The Street of Facades sits where the gorge (Siq) starts to widen and it reveals lots of tombs carved into the stone walls. You’ll continue walking until you see a sign on your right leading up past the Royal Tombs.
It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the Treasury to the Treasury Viewpoint Trailhead and past the Royal Tombs.
Begin Treasury Viewpoint Trail
Now, the Treasury Viewpoint is not a modest trail. It extends for 2.2 miles (3.5km) out and back and takes about 90 minutes to hike in full, plus any time you spend at the viewpoint itself.
This trail is stunningly beautiful along the way too – you’ll have sweeping views of the rest of the Petra site, which will probably inspire you to make a return visit someday.
Arrive at Treasury Viewpoint
At the top, you’ll find an entrepreneurial Bedouin tent with tea, fresh juice, and snacks for sale. Oh, and lovely kittens who love to snuggle up while you admire the incredible view. I’d say you should give yourself two hours total to hike to the Treasury Viewpoint, spend time at the top, and hike back down.
Go Back to the Visitor Center
After you descend from the Treasury Viewpoint (which takes about 30 minutes), you’ll notice a fork in the trail; take the right fork toward an upper trail that passes by the Byzantine Church with its mosaic floor and the temples within Petra. It’ll take you about 45 minutes to reach the end of the Main Trail (2.5 miles/4km from the Visitor Center, but longer since you added on the 2.2 miles/3.5km for the Treasury Viewpoint hike).
In total, this should take you about 4 hours; add on the 6-8 hours of travel (3-4 hours each way), and you’re looking at a full but fulfilling day trip to Petra from Amman. Have any questions about how to plan your Petra day trip? Let me know in the comments below!